Kassoon

No Prep Module: The Bandit Brokers for D&D or RPGs

This adventure can be can be easily customized to a party of any size or level, or run as a level 3 adventure for 5 players. It can work as a small side adventure in an existing campaign, as a standalone one-shot, or the start of a new adventure. Use the links to the tools in their relevant section to customize the adventure to your party.

Criminal Caravan

Background

The Cult of the Glittering Thieves secretly hires the PCs to guard a caravan transporting stolen goods. They operate outside the kingdom, transporting goods to fence in other cities to avoid being caught. To everyone else, they're a legitimate merchant caravan that buys and sells goods, but to a select few they're notorious bandits, hiding their elicit activities under the guise of random misfortune.

The PCs arrive at the hamlet looking for info related to their backstory. Start with a week of downtime allowing the PCs to RP and follow up leads or get up to mischief. At the end of the downtime, incorporate one of the hooks below, having the cult follow-up with the PCs to hire them to guard a caravan that's going in the same direction. Keep the identity of the cult and the nature of the goods a secret.

You follow the trail as it passes by a town, before the trail ends at a sealed burial mound. Windswept piles of snow and branches clump between small swatches of grass-covered fur poking through the thin, dry topsoil. The nearby hamlet of Mosscraig sits in the shadow of a large ruined castle, it's surrounded by simple wood and earth walls with mostly Tabaxi and Tiefling residents.

Mosscraig sits in the shadow of a large ruined castle, known for its flowers and its colorful dyes. The hamlet is surrounded by simple wood and earth walls, with mostly Tabaxi and Tiefling residents.

Adventure Hooks

  • During a magical performance by a gnome mage something goes wrong. A simple trick summons a beast from another dimension and it attacks the audience and PCs. After a long battle the PCs must decide what to do with the gnome. Is he the one responsible for all that pain or is there more going on than meets the eye?
  • A witch's curse is causing a farmer's crops and livestock to die.
  • Cult of the Glittering Thieves contacts the party and asks for their help.

If you need an NPC to act as a questgiver for your hook, you can use this one (or generate your own):

Glim Offund, Male Gnome

Description: This man likes to wear blue tank tops with green pants. He is muscular with a powerful set of arms. With bright black hair and a scraggly beard. His eyes, though not visible through his cowl, are gray.

Personality: He thrives on attention. He does whatever is in his power to gain the attention of whomever he deems a fit date. The war was a terrible time for him, and Glim does not often speak of it. When he does, he does so with a strained expression and tears in his eyes.

History: He served in the navy to pay for his family's outstanding loans. He has had some formal poetry training, and achieved minor success. He guards a vault combo very seriously as well as the key needed to open it.

Motivation:Balancing his hectic life and new Mayor responsibilities is difficult; and he wants nothing more than to rejoin the army

Voice: Speaks through clenched teeth

Journey

Journey Hexmap

Type: Air Monstrosity
Noises: Bang or slam
Air: Clear and damp
Odors: Urine
Enemy Patrol: 1 Darkmantle (CR: 1/2: Monster Manual p. 46), 1 Yuan-ti Malison (Type 5) (CR: 3: Volo's Guide to Monsters pg 96) (Hard, 160 XP each) [Customize]
Chance of Encounter Per Hour: 50%

Navigation DC 15, Foraging DC 10 (1d6 lbs food, 1d6 gallons water). The temperature is 1°C (34°F) at day 5°C (41°F) at night. The weather is conjuration Storm. Everything is heavily obscured, tracks and flames are smothered. The party encounters 2 random creatures from a random environment or plane of existence with heavy wind. Disadvantage on sight/hearing checks, and ranged weapon attack rolls. Extinguishes open flames, disperses fog, and makes flight impossible. On the journey they see the landscape teleports to random locations on the planet throughout the year.

Room Contents

You can also generate different descriptions using the Description Generator

1

The caravan is gathering outside the city, with wagons being secured by rope and canvas. There's a long procession of wagons hitched to horses, and a cool breeze coming off the mountain.

For this journey, you should use the Gritty Realism rules from the DMG: long rests are a week, and short rests are a day. The PCs will need to procure their own food and water before the journey, but any water they bring can be carried on the caravan. When they set out, continue to #2

2

You follow low houses built into the terrain, to the side of a cliff. At the far end is an isolated farm stead. Atop the hill is a wide ring of black boulders and smaller rocks that collectively form a makeshift wall enclosing a field of corn. The route branches north and climbs rocky cliffs, ending at an outpost built into a ten-foot-high wall of limestone. To the east, black woods ascends suddenly, encasing an arching natural stone bridge spanning a ravine.

A guard is walking down from the outpost on patrol, and if spoken to he'll mention that the other guards are busy gambling, and will mention they're always eager to play with travelers.

There is an east path that leads to #4

There is a north path that leads to #3

3

A sagging stone outpost overhangs over the switchback gravel path leading up to it. The structure has a warm light poking through holes in a red tile roof and a simple herb garden. The plateau has a good view of the forest valley and ravine to the southeast, and a group of guards are sat at a table outside.

The guards at this outpost are gambling. Give the PCs the option to give up one of two random magic items (DM randomly chooses two magic items owned by PC, the PC chooses which one to give up) in order to receive a random magic item. [Customize]

If the PCs stay at the outpost and gamble with the guards, or if they remain and make polite conversation, the guards will teach the PCs about the hidden updrafts at the ravine and warn them that the bridge is dangerous.

There is a south path that leads to #2

4

A natural stone bridge spans a ravine, covered in claw marks. To the east, the gray woods continue gently, enclosing a well that's knocked over. The blurred sunset emerges to throw a glowing light upon the shore of a small lake, and illuminates a patch of glowing fungus.

Anyone that tries to cross the bridge will be attacked by 2 Asharra (CR: 2: Tomb of Annihilation pg 69) (Hard, 180 XP each) [Customize] that will attempt to push them off with gust of wind if they can, causing them to fall 60 feet into the ravine.

If the PCs search for the hidden updrafts, they can launch themselves across the ravine and avoid the bridge

There is a west path that leads to #2

There is a east path that leads to #5

5

Ahead, a hulking edifice of basalt looms over the rocky bluffs, carved into the face of a grand mountain. You see a ruined signpost next to the trail, the two arms of the sign pointing down the two branches. To the west the trail ascends gradually to an ominous forest. To the south and down the ridges you can see a burial site.

There are 1 Yuan-ti Mind Whisperer (CR 4: Volo's Guide to Monsters p. 204), 1 Death Dog (CR 1: Monster Manual p. 321) [Hard, 1,300 XP rewarded] [Customize] here.

In the west path (green) is a deep pit (60 ft deep) with no floor or ledges that spans the path that leads to #4

There is a south path that leads to #6

6

A natural crevasse has opened in the north, splitting the terrain. Through the rocky bluffs you see the empty shell of an ancient stone fort, half of which has sunk into the valley below. To the east, black rocky bluffs climbs precipitously, fencing in a mist-shrouded obelisk.

There are 1 Ettercap (CR 2: Monster Manual p. 131), 1 Kamadan (CR 4: Tomb of Annihilation), 1 Green Guardian Gargoyle (CR 1: Fifth Edition Foes p. 115) [Deadly, 1,750 XP rewarded] [Customize] here.

There is an east path that leads to #7

There is a north path that leads to #5

7

You come to a mist-shrouded obelisk in a grove of wild flowers. A series of sandstone-carved stairs climb from the base of the ridgeline to several cave openings that pock the cliff face. The mountains' glacier-carved slopes steepen above the rim of this side valley, where you see a crumbling brick house.

Two outcast soldiers that live on the mountain will spot the caravan and recognize the owners, claiming that it belongs to the Cult of Glittering Thieves, a criminal enterprise that's been robbing people and shipping off their goods to fence for profit in other kingdoms. The PCs will have to make a choice, either believe the soldiers and turn on their former employers, or fight the soldiers. For either choice, use the encounter below.

There are 1 Illusionist (CR 3: Volo's Guide to Monsters p. 214), 1 Tomb Dwarf (CR 3: Tomb of Annihilation) [Deadly, 1,400 XP rewarded] [Customize] here.

Conclusion

If the PCs turn on the caravan, then the goods will need to be returned to owners. It takes just as long to travel back to town (and requires the same food and water), but the townfolk will be grateful for the return and reward the PCs with 5 Potions of Healing. If the PCs turn on the soldiers, the caravan will make it to the destination and the PCs will be paid their cut of the profits, which is around 200 gp.

If the Cult of Glittering Thieves is betrayed, they won't so easily forgive and forget and will seek their revenge on the PCs. This could lead to a recurring villain in future adventures, or sneaky assassins in the night.

Need more help with your campaign? Check out all the other tools, generators, and articles: kassoon.com/dnd/

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